What is the Greek word for love in John 15:10?
While Jesus’ statement “abide in My love” was a command given directly to His twelve disciples, it also applies to every believer. Jesus repeats the phrase twice. The first time He says “Abide in My love” is in John 15:9; the second time is in John 15:10. Since Jesus says it twice, we want to know what the meanings of the Greek words for “abide” and “love” are. Our purpose is to explain the meanings of the words and Jesus’ statement in John 15:9-10.
Abide In My Love
John 15:9-10 contains a command and a promise. In verses 9 and 10, we are commanded to “abide in My love.” The promise in these verses is “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.” The first step to understanding both the command and the promise is to understand the meaning of the key words of “abide” and “love.”
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:9-10
The Greek word for “abide” is meno. It occurs two times in these two verses. The word meno means “to remain” or “to stay.” It is the simple idea of remaining in a place.
The Greek word for love in both verses is agapao and agape. Agapao is the verb form of the noun agape. Both words refer to the highest form of love. This love is selfless. Agape does not refer to a friendship love, brother-sister love, a parental love, an emotional love or a sexual love. The Greek word for friendship love is phileo and the Greek word for sexual love is eros. There are at least twelve different Greek words that have the sense of love. Therefore, Jesus commands believers to remain in His agape-love.
Meaning of Abide In My Love
But what does Jesus mean by this command “abide in My love”? First, we must understand the spiritual significance that Jesus gave the simple word “abide.” Verses 5-6 help us understand the spiritual significance.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. John 15:5-6 (NASB)
In verse 5 Jesus tells us that one who abides in Him will produce much fruit. Jesus frequently used the concept of fruit to refer to spiritual growth and the works of believers. That is, believers produce fruit, but unbelievers do not produce fruit.
— If Anyone Does Not Abide In Me,
He Is Thrown Away —
Notice that in verse 6 Jesus said that “if anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away” and is cast “into the fire” and “are burned.” Since unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire, we can conclude that those who are not abiding in Christ are unbelievers.
Now notice that when Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing . . .” He was referring to the fact that only by the Holy Spirit can a person produce fruit. The Holy Spirit produces the “fruit of the Spirit” in the life of a believer and helps believers have victory over sin. Therefore, verses 5-6 reveal that only believers abide in Christ. Unbelievers do not.
— Bear Much Fruit,
and So Prove To Be My Disciples —
John 15:8 summarizes verses 5-7.
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:8 (NASB)
In verse 5 we have already seen that Jesus said he who abides in Him “bears much fruit.” Then in verse 8, Jesus said that those who bear much fruit “prove to be My disciples.” This confirms that those who abide in Christ are His disciples. So those who do not abide are unbelievers.
— Abide In My Love —
Now we are ready to determine what Jesus meant by “abide in My love” in John 15:9-10. We have already discovered in verse 9, that the Father loved Jesus and Jesus loved His disciples. He displayed His love to us when Christ died to forgive our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:4-6 ). Then when Christ commands us to “abide in My love” He is referring to keeping His commandments (v. 10). Believers are those who produce much fruit by obedience. In return, they remain in the love of the Father. That is, believers will experience the Father’s blessing because of their faithful obedience.
In 1 John 2:3-6 the apostle John also tells us that those who “know Him,” (those who are believers) keep the Father’s commandments. Obedience reveals that we love Him.
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB)
Now we understand that those who abide in Christ are believers; and when we are obedient, we experience the agape of God—the selfless love of our God. Unbelievers are not favored by God, but believers are favored by God.
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